Ademola Oni and Sunday Aborisade
It was learnt that the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, returned to Lagos on Saturday as preparations for the rally and formal declaration of an APC governorship aspirant in the state, Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu, were being concluded.
The organisers of the rally, billed for City Hall, Lagos Island, on Sunday, had concluded that 1,000 supporters be mobilised from each of the local government areas in the state for the rally.
SUNDAY PUNCH learnt that after the return of Tinubu from Abuja, the chairmen of the local governments held another crucial meeting at Watercress Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, on “new development” concerning the Sunday event.
A source at the meeting, who is an aide of one of the council chairmen, told SUNDAY PUNCHthat the chairmen were informed that while the rally for Sanwo-Olu would still go ahead on Sunday, the chairmen should no longer “mobilise” 1,000 supporters from their local governments.
“No, the rally has not been called off. The chairmen are in the meeting, but the latest information is that they should no longer mobilise 1,000 people from the councils. Those to attend the rally are the leaders from the ward to the state level; the state and federal legislators and party chiefs,” he said.
One of the aides of Tinubu told one of our correspondents that the rally would still go ahead as planned on Sunday.
“That’s the grand declaration. It’s going ahead; nothing has changed,” he said.
Another source, a former member of the state House of Assembly, however, said the reduction in the number of those to attend the rally was a crowd control strategy at the venue.
“You know the way our people behave. Even the supporters, who are meant to attend, will get to the venue before the organisers,” he stated.
The former lawmaker, however, said the latest information on the battle to save Ambode’s job was that nothing had changed from the resolve of party stakeholders in the state to see off the Epe-born technocrat.
“As of this afternoon, what we heard was that Asiwaju has not agreed (to back Ambode). I don’t know what happened in the evening o; things might have changed,” he said.
A lawmaker, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, argued that while the embattled governor had not shown enough political sagacity in handling the affairs of the party leaders in the state, it would be in the interest of the APC to resolve its festering crisis amicably.
He added, “It was the same crisis we faced in the day of (Babatunde) Fashola until we were able to block the funneling of money to the Labour Party by one of our leaders.
“Don’t forget that we lost some seats to the PDP in the last elections. We knew what we had to do to bring some of them back to the APC.
“So, it is in the interest of the party to resolve this crisis to prevent such crack again.”